Finger-pointers Arise As Economy Descends


Few Are Spared As Cutbacksanger Many

May 15, 1991|By Russ Mullaly

Anybody ready for a kinder and gentler county?

This used to be a nice place to live. However, since the county is caught up in this recession like everywhere else, things here have been getting nasty.

We've got people pointing fingers in all directions.

It's Bobo's fault, it's Ecker's fault, the County Council, Bush, Reagan, Schaefer, Jimmy Carter, developers, the Japanese and whoever might be yourfavorite scapegoat.

We've seen all sorts of nasty and some unintentionally humorous letters in the local newspapers.

Realtors, whose sales are down from recent record-setting years, are taking former council members to task.

Residents who don't use county services that are being cut ask "What's the problem?" and say it doesn't concern them.

Those who think county teachers have an easy job, don't need a raise and should be happy they still have a job, have written, too.

Other letter writers ask whether County Executive (Charles I.)Ecker should be receiving his $40,000 a year state pension in addition to his $80,000 annual salary as county executive.

And, of course, let's not forget the letters saying, "No New Taxes!"

The countyexecutive has been called all sorts of names.

Some people suggestthat while they voted for him once, they will not do so twice.

Cuts are going to be made in county services, and this has angered lotsof folks, namely senior citizens worried about the survival of theirprograms and services; the Howard County Historical Society, whose grant money was completely eliminated, then partially restored; teachers, whose contracts for the coming year might not be honored; police;homeowners; county employees threatened with possible (and real) layoffs; motorists angry about road construction delays; and others who are bent out of shape at the county administrator for one reason or another.

I'm wondering when the first bumper stickers are going to show up that say "Don't blame me, I voted for Bobo."

I'm hoping the county can get through these rough times without rioting in the streets.

If we can hold on until the economy improves, maybe things can get back to normal.

But generally speaking, my fellow countians, aren't you getting tired of all of this?

Is this kind of stuff going to continue for four years? You know -- decisions by the Ecker administration that don't seem to be thought-out fully?

Often thesedecisions are retracted after certain groups begin to howl over the consequences that could arise.

Remember the police with the proposed manpower cuts and the proposed take-home radio ban?

Some decisions seem to be purely political in nature to show "money is being saved," when in reality the savings are as insignificant as our own pocket change.

Will we need referees or extra police at the County Council meetings?

If the recession continues longer than expected, will the county lose its position as one of the best places to live or have a business?

Will the school system deteriorate because education seems to have lost its priority in the county?

What will the county be like by 1994?

These are questions all countians need to think about. Well, those that care, I guess.

And there seem to be lots who don't -- just check the percentage who go to the polls.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and politics can be put aside so our county can continue as one of the leaders of the state, instead ofone that makes the evening news for its miscues.

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